Did you know that one-third of children in Ohio are enrolled in Medicaid? Neither did I, until last week when I picked up a copy of the Bucyrus (Ohio) Telegraph-Forum and read down to the seventh paragraph of a story headlined, “Study says more children have health insurance.”
The positive spin in the headline was undercut by the statistical facts of the story: “The increase in children on insurance comes as median incomes across the state were relatively flat, and the percentage of families in poverty — especially those with children — rose slightly.” An increase in poverty, in other words, actually reduced the number of uninsured children by qualifying them for coverage under a government program for the poor. Such was the substance of the explanation by Angela Krile, spokeswoman for the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, who said: “Really, this just shows the importance of Medicaid in our state for children.”
Americans have become accustomed to this sort of “good news” in the Obama era, and there was more of it in that small-town Ohio paper. “Unemployment remains the same,” declared the headline across the top of the front page. The story explained that, although the official unemployment rate in Crawford County, Ohio (population 43,389) declined from 9 percent in July to 8 percent in August, it wasn’t because more people were working. “Since the number of employed stayed the same, 200 people went off of unemployment because their time limit is up and they have not found work yet,” Dave Williamson, director of the Crawford County Economic Development Partnership, told the Bucyrus paper. “We have no more people working than we did last month.”
Extrapolate such statistical hocus-pocus at the local level across the entire state of Ohio, or nationwide, and you understand how some people might be deceived into believing that the Obama administration has actually produced an economic recovery. Yet it doesn’t take much effort to discover how grim the situation really is.